Video CDs (VCDs) were first introduced in 1993 by Panasonic, Philips, Sony, and JVC, and became popular in Asia. They allowed 74 minutes of VHS-quality video and CD-quality audio to be stored on older Compact Discs. The format preceded the availability of DVD players by three years. However, the format did not gain widespread popularity in North America. Later, the MPEG-2 Super Video CD (SVCD) was introduced, but playback time was only 35 minutes. The “White Book” contained the specifications for the video CD format. Several CD-ROM and DVD drives, CD-I, and 3DO devices can play video Discs.
What is a Video CD (VCD)?
A Video CD (VCD) is a full-motion video format for older Compact Discs that was introduced in 1993. It was created by Panasonic, Philips, Sony, and JVC. The format allowed for 74 minutes of VHS-quality video and CD-quality audio to be stored on a single disc.
How did VCDs differ from DVDs?
VCDs were introduced three years before DVD players became widely accessible. While VCDs were popular in Asia, they did not gain widespread use in North America. In addition, the MPEG-2 Super Video CD (SVCD) format was later released, but the playing length was only 35 minutes.
Which devices can play VCDs?
Several CD-ROM and DVD drives, as well as CD-I and 3DO devices, can play video Discs. The “White Book” contained definitions of specifications, which gave manufacturers the guidelines needed to create VCD or SVCD compatible equipment.
Despite the VCD being a short-lived format, it still had a significant impact on the home video market, primarily in Asia. It also proved to be valuable for music video distributors in the years before the explosion of YouTube and other online video streaming platforms. Today, VCDs are mostly found in thrift stores and among collectors, but they remain an important milestone in the evolution of home video technology.